I run 4 social media accounts for my business. Here are the free tools I use to automate the process and create valuable content.

Jen Glantz 2
runs multiple social media accounts in under a few hours each month. Jen Glantz

I’m a serial entrepreneur, which means my time and money are invested in multiple businesses and projects that I started from scratch. It also means that I do most of the heavy lifting of these businesses on my own. I’m not only responsible for scaling these projects and optimizing my website, but also for strategizing and executing on the marketing plan.

Early on, I found myself spending way too much time on tasks that felt more like a full-time job than just parts of the business. One of those tasks was social media. Managing four different social media accounts (one per business or project) became overwhelming, and it wasn’t in my budget to hire an assistant to help me plan and post.

Instead, I had to find innovative ways to automate my social media pages so that they’d be engaging, entertaining and educational for my audience, but not take me more than a few hours a month to manage.

Here are the ways I automate my social media accounts while also creating valuable content. 

1. Create a 30-day content calendar 

One of the biggest headaches of doing social media is trying to figure out what to post every single day. If you’re doing this in real-time, it can take hours. In order to stay consistent with posting on all four of my social media accounts, I use the last week of every month to create a content calendar for the next 30-days. 

I create this calendar as a spreadsheet that I spend the week contributing to and editing. On that calendar, I tap into my main content categories for each brand. I assign five to 10 content categories per brand (these are overall themes for what the account posts) so that I’m able to use that as a guide to decide what to post.

I also take into account holidays, key events, or big promotions and deals from my brands and plan for that within the month. I usually spend about two to three hours creating this plan for each brand and once it’s done, it serves as my game plan for the coming month.

2. Tap into automation tools 

When it comes to making sure my posts publish on social media on-time, I like to schedule the majority of my posts using automation tools. 

I take the completed content that I planned on my spreadsheet and I drop it into a scheduling tool (I use a free one called Buffer.com) that will post for me on the day and time that I pick. This allows me to not have to manually go to each of my accounts and post something new in real-time. 

Having the majority of my posts automated and ready to go live in advance, saves me approximately hours across my four different accounts. 

3. Use free content creation tools

Jen Glantz
Glantz uses free content creation tools to save money. Jen Glantz

Since I’m not a designer or photographer, I initially found creating social media content to be very time consuming. When I hired those professionals, I found myself spending thousands of dollars and a lot of time going back and forth with revisions to make sure the content was on brand.

To make this process easier and quicker, I found a handful of tools that are easy to use and help me create my content fast. I use one free tool to create graphics (Canva), another tool for free stock images (Unsplash.com) and a final tool for photo editing (Fotor) to make the photo look professional.

This suite of tools allows me to create content pretty fast and it doesn’t cost me a penny. 

4. Pre-plan the content categories 

Another big thing that drains a lot of time when it comes to social media is figuring out what to actually post. 

One way that I automate this is by pre-planning the five content pillars and categories for each of my four accounts. I pick the main themes for each of my brands so that I can easily stay focused and have a clear strategy when it comes to deciding on the content to post.

I set these categories early on for each of my brands and when a new month is on the horizon and I need to figure out what to post, I just pull from those categories and plan it on the content calendar. 

5. Stick to a strategy 

I also use a 70-20-10 method for deciding on what kind of content to post and how often. I stick by this rule to make sure my content is engaging.

This means that 70% of my content is free value to my audience (facts, tips, behind-the-scenes, the story of the company), 20% of the content is user generated or shared from other experts or accounts, and 10% of the content are calls to action or promotions. 

Sticking with this strategy makes it easy to automate the type of frequency of content I post. 

6. Repeat what works best

When I want to make sure I’m finding ways to grow my social media accounts and perform well with engaging content, I simply tap into my in-app analytics to determine what’s working well and use that to plan for the next month.

Engagement metrics (likes, comments, shares) let me see what my most popular post formats and topics are. I then make it easy on myself and just repeat what works well on each account. 

Managing multiple social media accounts can start to feel overwhelming and be time consuming. If you plan properly, have systems in place and create your content in an organized way, it’ll become automated and easier than you imagine it ever could be.